Archive for the 'Cake Baking Information' Category

Recipe: Successful Cake Baking

|March 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

HELPFUL TIPS AND INFORMATION

 


There is a lot that you can do to ensure that your cake-making experiences can be more fun and more enriching. Beyond the basic ingredients, the following tips and information will help to you to make and enjoy better cakes than ever!

 

 


INGREDIENTS


· Whenever possible, try to invest in the best chocolate, fruit fillings, nuts etc., that you can afford at the time. You'll be sure to taste – and enjoy – the difference if you start with the best ingredients. The little extra that you spend on better ingredients will always pay off.


· You'll be sure to taste – and enjoy – the difference if you start with the best ingredients. The little extra that you spend on better ingredients will always pay off.


· Butter always gives cakes the best flavor. Remember that for whatever the occasion, a good cake is a treat!

 

 


PREPARATION and MIXING


· Prepare all the necessary ingredients beforehand.


· Before mixing the batter, prepare the pans, heat the oven to the proper cooking temperature, and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.


· Have all ingredients ready and at room temperature for best results.


· Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, or for as long as the recipe directs.


· Always sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices to avoid lumps.


· To speed up the softening of cold butter, slice it thinly and let stand for about 10 minutes.


· Toss nuts, raisins and fruits into the batter last to avoid color bleeding.


· Scrape sides and bottom of bowl frequently with a rubber spatula during mixing.


· Spread batter evenly in pans.

 

 


BAKING


· Preheat oven 10-15 minutes before you plan to use it to allow time for it to heat to baking temperature.


· Generously grease the inside of your pan with solid vegetable shortening. Use a pastry brush to spread shortening evenly, making sure all inside surfaces are well covered. Then dust the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. If any shiny spots remain, touch them up with more shortening and flour, or use vegetable pan spray.


· Position pans as near to the center of the oven as possible. Pans should not touch the sides of the oven or each other.


· Test your cakes for doneness while they're still in the oven. Due to differences in individual oven controls, be sure to test your cake for doneness according to package or recipe directions. A cake is done when the sides shrink slightly away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, with nothing sticking to it.


· Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before loosening the edge and turning it out onto a wired rack to cool.


· To remove a cake easily from a pan, place double thickness paper towel over wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of cake. A clean oven rack or refrigerator shelf can be used for larger layers. Place covered rack over the top of the cake and then invert the cake and rack at least one hour before decorating. Then brush loose crumbs off cake.

 

 


FROSTING


· Chill the cake between the filling and the frosting. The cake will be much easier to work with.


· Apply a thin layer of frosting to the cake then refrigerate until it is set before applying the final, heavier layer of frosting. This will seal in the crumbs, ensuring a clean final appearance.

 

 


GENERAL HELPS


If the cake rose unevenly in the oven:


· The flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.


· The temperature inside the oven was uneven.


· The oven temperature was too high.

 


If the batter overflowed the pans:


· Make sure you used the right size pan. The uncooked mixture should fill the pan by no more than two-thirds.

 

 


FOR CAKES THAT USE SEPARATELY-BEATEN EGG WHITES AND YOLKS


If the cake is dense and heavy:


· The eggs were too small. Always use large eggs when baking.


· Insufficient air was whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.


· The flour was not folded in gently. Always mix in the flour at the lowest speed.


· The melted butter was too hot when added, causing it to sink down through the whisked foam.


· The oven temperature was too low.

 


If the top of the cake dropped:


· The oven temperature was too hot.


· The cake was not cooked long enough.


· The oven door was opened too soon, which created a draft.

 

 


FOR CAKES THAT USE CREAMED BUTTER AND SUGAR MIXTURES


If the batter curdles and separates:


· The ingredients were not at room temperature.


· The butter and sugar were not creamed together well enough before adding the eggs.


· The eggs were added too quickly.

 


If the cake's texture is too heavy:


· The butter, sugar and eggs were not beaten together long enough.


· The flour was beaten at too high a speed.


· Too much flour was added to the creamed mixture.


· The oven temperature was not hot enough.

 

 


If the top of the cake peaks and cracks:


· The oven temperature was too hot, causing the outside of the cake to bake and form a crust too quickly. As the mixture in the center of the cake continued to cook and rise, it burst up through the top of the cake.


· The cake wasn't baked on the center rack of the oven.

 


If raisins, dried fruit and nuts sunk to the bottom:


· The pieces of fruit were too large and too heavy.


· The sugary syrup on the outside of the fruit was not washed off- this caused the pieces of fruit to slide through the mixture as it heated.


· The washed and dried fruit was not dusted with flour before being added to the mixture.


· The cake mixture was over beaten or was too wet so it could not hold the fruit in place.


· The oven temperature was too low, causing the mixture to melt before it set to hold the fruit in place.

Recipe: Q & A

|February 21, 2011|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –


don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

 


Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"


A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

 


Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"


A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

 


Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"


A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

 


Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"


A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

 


Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"


A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.


I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!